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D.C. Council Set To Vote On Comprehensive Plan Amendments 18 Months After Introduction

The D.C. Council's Comprehensive Plan hearing in March 2018 drew hundreds of residents to testify.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has been urging the D.C. Council to move forward with the changes to the city's long-term development plan her administration introduced nearly 18 months ago, and it now appears poised to take up the legislation.

A spokesperson for Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told the Washington Business Journal the chairman plans to hold a first reading and vote on the Comprehensive Plan amendments July 9. 

The vote would take place just before the council leaves for summer recess July 15, likely pushing the final vote on the amendments to the fall. The Bowser administration introduced the amendments in January 2018 and two months later, the council held a contentious hearing on the changes that drew hundreds of people to testify. 

Advocates expressed disappointment in December that the council had not moved forward with the amendments before the end of the 2018 legislative session. Bowser issued a statement Wednesday night, prior to WBJ's report, urging the council to move forward with the amendments. 

"Our city is growing and constantly changing, and updating this critical element will ensure we are crafting a strategy that meets those conditions," Bowser said. "My legislation has been sitting untouched for over 17 months. With the budget process over, we need the Council to take action now."

The Comprehensive Plan, the guiding document for the city's long-term development, is undergoing its first revision since 2011. Developers hope the amendments will help clear up ambiguous language in the plan that the courts have seized on to block developments after they have received approvals and been appealed by opposition groups. 

The amendments currently before the council only address the Comprehensive Plan's Framework Element, a 60-page section that outlines guiding principals for the larger plan. The Office of Planning has indicated it would introduce the amendments for the remainder of the plan after the initial changes have moved forward.